Guide to Canadian Legal Resources
Canada has been self-governing since 1867, although there are still ties to British common law. Rarely referred by its legal name, the Dominion of Canada, as noted in the Constitution Act of 1871, Canada operates under a bicameral legislature or Parliament, located in the national capital of Ottawa. The court system is bound by the Canadian constitution and is both federal and provincial. The federal courts legislate over federal law, the provincial courts are exclusively civil law.
Common and civil law information is easily disseminated over the Internet with many associations, faculties of law, statutes, and case law studies available for the 68,000-plus lawyers and estimated nine to 10,000 full and part time law students to peruse.
Associations & Institutes
The Canadian Bar Association: Offers law resources and professional development, a national magazine, practical business information, and the lawyer code of conduct for the Bar.
Access to Justice Network: Portal to various law sites such as the Department of Justice, CanLII. News, views, general, and specific law links and related services, and interactive resources.
Directory Canadian Association of Law Teachers: Membership open to all law teachers and to the editors of the Canadian Bar Review. There are two databases: one for the Canadian law teachers and one for graduate law programs.
Justice Institute of British Columbia: Applied safety and academic programs. Canada's leading public safety educational venue.
International Law Students Association: A non-profit dedicated to international law for students and current lawyers.
Legal Education Society of Alberta: Serves students and Alberta lawyer professional development.
BC Law Institute: The umbrella for the British Columbia Law Reform Group, the International Law Reform Group, the Canadian Centre for Elder Law, and the Canadian Journal of Elder Law.
Nova Scotia Barristers' Society: The self-governing legal profession society that offers searches for lawyers and case law, as well as general public information.
Federation of Law Societies of Canada: The national coordinator of the 14 Canadian Law Societies regulating 95,000 lawyers and 3,500 notaries located in Québec.
Department of Justice Canada: Check here for the latest news and news releases, judicial appointments, speeches, law archives, and information on Canadian law.
Black Law Students' Association of Canada: Association geared to providing information and resources for Black law students.
Pro Bono Students Canada: Schooling law students in the philosophy and practice of pro bono work.
Canadian Jewish Law Students Association: Founded in 1987 by students, the CJLSA seeks to unite Jewish students from all over Canada for learning, socializing, and networking.
Federation of Law Societies in Canada: Information on the 14 law societies in the Canadian provinces and territories.
Graduate Law Students Association: Serving students at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.
Canada-United States Law Institute: Linking Canadian and U.S. law interests and providing a forum for dialogue.
Health Law Institute: Addresses the legal and ethical questions of the ever-changing health laws.
Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association: Founded in 1986 to advance the science of jurisprudence, advocacy training, and the public good.
Advocates Society: Provides advocacy training, and addresses the problems of civil litigation.
Manitoba Bar Association: A provincial member of the Canadian Bar Association providing professional development and support to its 1,300 members.
Canadian Case Law Database: Managed by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. The databases are free and public accessible. Searchable by province as well as national.
Supreme Court of Canada Judgments: Decisions rendered since 1948. Only decisions since 1970 are available in both English and French.
LexisNexis Quicklaw: Legal research includes Quicklaw, Lexis, and Nexis sites. By subscription only. Extensive array of court and tribunal decisions as well as current and past legislation. In both English and French. Huge article database and training information.
Federal Court Decisions: Database searchable by year, cause, docket number, neutral citation. Includes recent federal court decisions, appeals, and tax court.
Federal Court of Appeals: Searchable by cause, year, docket, and citation. Recent decisions included.
Employment Insurance Jurisprudence Library: Designed to disseminate information on appeals falling under the Employment Insurance Act.
Court Cases and Case Law: Extensive list of databases, Canadian and International resources for finding court cases and researching case law.
Tax Court of Canada: Collection is searchable by case name, date, citation, or by subject. Includes recent judgments.
CanLex Open API Interfaces for Lawyers: Use the Reflex CanLII citator to insert case law citation and legislation links into your legal documents, while the Polyglotte converts those documents into formats used for the Web and ELIIsa functions as a search engine for LexUM.
Social Case Law: Recent social case law, court decision, and inquest links.
Civil Liberties and Human Rights
Canadian Human Rights Commission: Administers the Canadian Human Rights Act and ensures that the Employment Equity Act is complied with.
Alberta Civil Liberties Research Center: Information about civil rights and liberties only, does not administer legal advice.
Human Rights Research and Education Centre: Works closely with the University of Ottawa's common and civil law faculty. Includes refugee research and empowerment for women in both Canada and Africa.
Human Rights and Poverty: Watchdog for human rights compliance and commitments from Canada.
Court Challenges: National non-profit to provide financial assistance for important court cases.
Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Guarantees, fundamentals, and enforcement of human rights.
Canadian Constitution Foundation: This independent, non-partisan charity exists to protect Canadian constitutional freedoms through litigation and education.
BC Human Rights Tribunal: Created by the British Columbia Human Rights Code, the tribunal accepts human rights complaints and screens them for mediation and adjudication.
Human Rights Program: Coordinates Canada's human rights report to the United Nations with the assistance of the provinces and territorial governments.
Computers & the Law
Canadian Citation Committee: An ad hoc group that supports standardization for the legal community.
Labor Research Law: Online labor law "merging tradition with technology."
Internet Policy: Works to ensure balance between policy and technology law.
IT-Can: The Canadian information technology law association.
Cyberlaw: Encyclopedia of links regarding many categories of interest regarding cyberlaw.
Computer Software Law: Discusses the law of copyrights, patents, trade secrets, contracts, trademarks and integrated circuit topography of software.
Bitlaw: Over 4,000 pages of technology and intellectual property law, statutory and regulatory sections. This is a U.S. site housing several section on Canadian law, just do a Bitlaw search on Canada.
International Journal of Law and IT: Has increased its frequency to four times annually. Has free access articles and online article submission. Especially interesting is the article on regulating data flow across borders.
Electronic Frontier Canada: Founded to protect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as it pertains to technological advances.
Online Rights Canada: Grassroots organization promoting the public voice regarding issues relating to the digital world.
Corporate & Securities Law
Canadian Securities Administrators: Responsible for the highly provincial securities regulations. They have even developed a passport system for securities. Read the rules, policies, and do a national registration search. Get information on publicly traded companies.
SEDAR: Official site for access to public securities documents and filings.
The Securities Act: C.C.S.M. c. S50 sections1 to 197 in two files. An unofficial version from Manitoba.
Securities Legislation in Canada: From the office of the Attorney General.
Provincial-Territorial Securities Initiative: Organization dedicated to Canadian Securities System reform.
IFRS-2011 News: Proposed changes to securities legislation in 2011.
British Columbia Securities Commission: Law and policy, weekly reports, and securities decisions.
Investment Canada Act: Regarding establishing a business in Canada for non-Canadians.
Business in Canada: What you need to know about investing in Canadian business.
Joint Stock Registry: Joint stock companies in Nova Scotia.
Mediators and Arbitrators: Online directory of mediators and arbitrators who can list their full professional profile and availability dates.
Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution: Provides intervention and training in deep-rooted conflict resolution designed to begin the process of reconciliation.
ADR Institute of Canada: Promotes mediation instead of litigation.
Peacemakers Trust: Directory of dispute resolution, conflict transformation, peace and humanitarian practice research.
Institute for Dispute Resolution: From the University of Victoria. Public policy, non-judicial resolution of conflict, and examines human rights in the building of peace.
Intellectual Property Law
Canadian Intellectual Property Office: Search patents and file for one online.
Collection of Laws for Electronic Access: CLEA's searchable database provides access to legislation regarding intellectual property.
World Intellectual Property Organization: Provides details on 24 treaties including IP and Global Protection and classification agreements. Includes statistical data.
Intellectual Property: Primer on what constitutes Canadian intellectual property law.
Directory: Intellectual property lawyers practicing in Canada.
Canadian Law Publications
Constitution Act of 1982: The updated Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Canadian Law Journals: Academic law journals online.
Canadian Journal of Law and Technology: Online archives from 2002. Published by Dalhousie.
Indigenous Law Journal: The University of Toronto's student run journal includes articles, case studies, notes, reviews, and how the legal systems affect the indigenous population of Canada.
McGill Law Journal: Scholarly journal affiliated with the McGill Faculty of Law. Also publishes the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation.
Legislative Assemblies of Canada: Parliament and the legislative assemblies by province.
Legislation by Jurisdiction: Categorized by province. Also view bills, statutes, and search the database by language, jurisdiction or keyword.
LEGISinfo: Library of Parliament research portal for the second session of the 40th Parliament.
Canada Gazette: The official newspaper of the Canadian government giving Canadians access to laws and regulations that affect their lives.
British Columbia Revised Statutes: Free public access to BC law.
Civil Code: Only Québec has a civil code. Official document updated January 2010.
Queen's Printer: Manitoba statutory law publications.
Virtual Library: Where to locate government publications.
Legislative History: General Canadian common and civil law legislation history.
Environmental Law: Legislation pertaining to the nearly two dozen Canadian environmental acts.
Universities & Colleges
University of Calgary Faculty of Law: Rounding out the top 10 overall common law rankings is Calgary. Its median LSAT is 158 and its median GPA is 3.55. Competitive with 100 slots open for its first year on average and 930 applicants.
Carleton Department of Law: The oldest and largest law school in Canada includes both undergraduate and graduate law and public affairs programs.
University of Toronto Faculty of Law: Arguably one of the most selective law schools in Canada, and one of the oldest schools at the University of Toronto.
McGill University Faculty of Law: Must have a substantial knowledge of English and French to be admitted. If your reading and aural comprehension skills are lacking, you will not be admitted. Must score above a 200 on the admittance questionnaire, preferably 250 or better to succeed in the program. If you can read Egan v. Canada, you stand a good chance of success.
Osgoode Hall Law School: The oldest school in Ontario, Macleans ranked Osgoode third in common law. Was the only accredited law school from its inception in 1889 to 1957. Ontario law schools require applying through the provinces central application service, the Ontario Law School Application Service.
UBC Faculty of Law: The University of British Columbia Faculty of Law was founded in 1945. It ranks as the second largest Canadian common law school and is one of the few that offer the Juris Doctor degree.
Dalhousie Law School: Formally known as the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie was established in 1883. No stats on admissions is given, but the law school has a rolling admissions policy. Requires two years post-secondary university education. Your extracurricular and employment achievements will help your application here.
University of Ottawa Faculty of Law: Competitive admissions, no minimum LSAT score, median GPA 3, the UOFL strongly recommends students to finish a program of study before engaging in law school.
University of Alberta Faculty of Law: Canadian Lawyer Magazine ranked UAFL as the second best law school in Canada (2003); and, Macleans ranked it the number one law school in Western Canada in 2007. Highly competitive, averaging 1200 applications for 170 spots.
Saskatchewan College of Law: Offers three levels of admission: regular, special, and aboriginal; as well as, a combined degree, part-time law studies and international exchange. Oral thesis required for the LL.M.
University of Manitoba Faculty of Law: There were 279 offers made from the applicant pool in 2009. Of those offers, 186 had a GPA of 3.75 or better.
University of Windsor Faculty of Law: Law school recently switched to the Juris Doctor degree.
Carleton University Department of Law: First multidisciplinary-concerned law school in Canada.
University of Sherbrooke: Located just inside the Canadian border in Southern Québec, Sherbrooke's law school is close enough for a weekend jaunt to New York.
Listing of Canadian Law Schools: From FindLaw, research 20 of Canada's top law schools from one page.
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